Less than two weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari launched the controversial ‘Change begins with me’ campaign and called on Nigerians to shun lawlessness and embrace values such as honesty and integrity, it has been discovered that the parts of President’s speech was plagiarised.
Parts of the President’s speech was plagiarised from United States President Barrack Obama’s November 4, 2008 victory speech in Chicago, ThisDay columnist Adeola Akinremi pointed out in his column for the paper on Friday.
A review of both speeches showed that indeed parts of Obama’s speech were lifted verbatim.
In his rousing speech following his victory, Obama, who like Buhari had promised Americans change, challenged them to avoid going back to the way things were as change could not happen that way.
He said, “So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.
“Let us remember that, if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers.
“In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let’s resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.”
Buhari did not only make a similar call in his speech at the inauguration of his social reorientation campaign on September 8, he used Obama’s words at some point.
Buhari said, “We must resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship, pettiness and immaturity that have poisoned our country for so long.
“Let us summon a new spirit of responsibility, spirit of service, of patriotism and sacrifice, Let us all resolve to pitch in and work hard and look after, not only ourselves but one another.
“What the current problem has taught us is that we cannot have a thriving army of rent seekers and vested interests, while the majority suffers.”
The Presidency has yet to react to the plagiarism scandal, which is reminiscent of a similar scandal involving Melania Trump, wife of the controversial US Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, and US First Lady, Michelle Obama.
Melania Trump’s had in a speech in July canvassing support for her husband lifted part of an earlier speech by Michelle Obama. Her speech writer, however, confessed and offered to resign after the action led to a scandal.
The plagiarism scandal adds to the controversy surrounding the ‘Change begins with me’ campaign, which has been widely criticised by Nigerians and civil society organisations.
According to Akinremi, it is a terrible mistake by the President.
“The argument will rage, but the moral problem of plagiarism on a day Mr. President launched a campaign to demand honesty and integrity from the people is what we should concern ourselves with,” Akinremi said.